VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: NSW Vs Queensland State of Origin 2, ANZ Stadium, Sydney 2011
Wed, 15 Jun 2011 9:17p.m.
By Michael Oliver
Welcome as we sink our teeth into Stage of Origin Game 2! A soggy Sydney ANZ Stadium may act as an equaliser or it may ignite. Either way, it’s a must win for the NSW Blues, at home now, after the Queensland Reds snatched the early advantage.
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LIVE commentary… Blues 18 Vs Maroons 8
VENUE & TIME: ANZ Stadium - Wednesday, June 15, 8.10pm (AEST), 10.10pm (NZT)
HEAD TO HEAD: Played 91 - Maroons 48, Blues 41, Drawn 2.
LAST TIME: Game 1, May 25, 2011 - Maroons 16-12
NSW trio Michael Jennings, Brett Morris and Josh Dugan were overlooked due to injury, with Will Hopoate, Jarryd Hayne and Anthony Minichiello the respective replacements. Coach Ricky Stuart made three other changes, with Kurt Gidley, Anthony Watmough and Luke Lewis all called into battle.
Queensland will be without centre Willie Tonga but came up with a half-decent replacement. One G Inglis if you don't mind.
We have searched high and low but there is not one stat that can support a NSW win. Home ground advantage? Nup, Queensland have won four of their last five at ANZ. Recent form trends? No luck there, the Maroons are shooting for their fifth successive win over NSW and a record-improving sixth straight series victory. Last-up performance? Well, the Blues did push Queensland all the way in Game 1 but still lost after being in front with 11 to go. Sorry NSW fans, we did try. Hang on. Isn't that an ash cloud heading towards Brisbane?
For all of his 18 Origin matches, Johnathan Thurston has run out with a huge target on his chest. And apart from the odd setback, the brilliant No.7 has tormented those who set out to torment him. The really bad news for the Blues is Thurston's in rare form, even by his high standards. A runway leader in the Dally M voting, JT leads the way for try assists (17) and line breaks (20). You can also throw in leading point-scorer (124), top goalkicker (82%) and equal third top try scorer (eighth). The nearest NSW player to those stats is...well, there isn't one. Props Petero Civoniceva and Matt Scott provided Thurston and his outside men with the perfect platform in game one, eating up well over 100m each.
Paul Gallen is the heart and soul of any side he plays in. The Blues skipper will rip and tear as usual but how much extra juice will he use up playing front-row? Gal needs to play out of his skin for the home side to be any hope. Look for Jamie Soward to get more involved while Jarryd Hayne will worry the life out of the Maroons on the wing. Akuila Uate was great on debut in Brisbane and will improve further here.
Ricky Stuart has really stuck his neck out with his selection for Game 2. We haven't seen a backrow this crowded since Hoyt's started letting randy teenagers in for half-price on a Tuesday. There are six players in either the starting line-up or on the bench who regular wear the 11, 12 or 13 at club level but just two recognised props in Trent Merrin and Tim Mannah. The decision to use Paul Gallen at prop is a massive gamble but Stuart likens the risk to backing Black Caviar at the Bong Bong races.
The Blues give away plenty of size to their Queensland counterparts and have no choice but to play an up tempo game, especially around the ruck. If Stuart's bold selection policy pays off, he will be rightfully hailed a genius. But failure on a big scale could see him looking for the side exit at ANZ well before fulltime.
We keep trying to find ways for NSW to win this but at every turn the names Slater, Lockyer, Thurston and Smith flash before your eyes. The Maroons were pushed to the limit in the series opener and know they are in a real contest, but they again look to have the Blues covered for class. Queensland by 8.
QLD: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Dane Nielsen, Greg Inglis, Jharal Yow Yeh, Darren Lockyer (capt), Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith, Petero Civoniceva, Sam Thaiday, Ashley Harrison, Nate Myles.
Interchange: Cooper Cronk, Corey Parker, Ben Hannant, Dave Taylor. 18th man: Jacob Lillyman.
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16/06/2011 12:00:46 a.m.
queensland will let this slide.. it's always cool when theres a 3rd MATCH :D GOOOOOOOOO QUEENSLAND!! MAROON ALLDAY, EVERYDAY!!!!!!
15/06/2011 11:05:54 p.m.
Who did Lewis replace?
15/06/2011 10:20:25 p.m.
nsw luvva! wrote:
go nsw!! all day
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